Cop appeals again after boy,16, crashes car, killing 4

HEAD of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch (PSTEB) Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Gary McKenzie is appealing to non-essential workers to stay home during the curfew hours.

The PTSEB boss appeal comes on the heels of the latest road crash which claimed the lives of four individuals on Friday around 11:45 pm.

Police said that a Honda motorcar was travelling westerly along Marcus Garvey Drive with four people on board – three males and a female – when upon reaching the vicinity of Industrial Terrace, the driver, 16-year-old Damar Patterson, lost control of the vehicle, which ran into a utility pole.

The dead have been identified as 23-year-old Javian Dove of Barracks Road in Montego Bay, St James; 18-year-old Kryshana Ellis, whose address is unknown; and Patterson of a Tawes Meadows address in Spanish Town, St Catherine. The body of the fourth person, a man, has not yet been identified.

The lawman said the vehicle was extensively damaged and an investigation is underway to find out what happened.

But, SSP McKenzie said the occupants may not have had the authority to be on the roadway.

“That is also something we are investigating. Only essential services persons or persons who are so authorised to be driving on the road at that time should have been there. I want to appeal to persons that if you are not a part of the sector of persons that are authorised to be on the roadway during the curfew hours then you should stay home,” he said.

SSP McKenzie also emphasised that an empty roadway is not a permit to speed.

“When we have roadways to drive on, the fact that there is not that much traffic on it is not a licence to drive as fast as the vehicle can take you. You have to obey the road rules. The roadways predominantly in the Corporate Area and through communities are 50 kmph,” he said.

In addition, SSP McKenzie said that over the past month the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has seen a lot of what he termed “very irresponsible behaviour” by drivers of not only motor cars, but motorcycles.

“We thought that we would have been trending down at the end of the first quarter because we had about a 20 per cent decline in road fatalities at that point. However, we have observed that the manner of driving in terms of expected speed, failing to keep to the near side of the roadway have caused quite a number of road collisions resulting in deaths. I would like to say to our road users that we have to be far more responsible,” SSP McKenzie said.

The accident brings road fatalities year-to-date to 121 collisions by 136 deaths, compared to 123 collisions by 136 deaths last year.

Further, SSP McKenzie said the highest category of road users being killed so far are motorcyclists, private motor car passengers and pedestrians.

SSP McKenzie said the main causes of these deaths are driving at excessive speeds and drivers failing to keep to the left and pedestrian errors.

He said: “Pedestrian errors meaning that persons are crossing the roadways at corners, in front and behind vehicles or they are just not paying attention and walk out in the path of vehicles that are passing.

“We need to get the public to recognise that collisions are taking away a lot of persons lives and this has affected, or is affecting families, how we develop the country because we are losing people to collisions when we did not have to,” SSP McKenzie said, adding that 95 per cent of collisions are due to human error.

Meanwhile, SSP McKenzie said the JCF continues to occupy areas which are most prone to crashes and continues to prosecute.

“So far this year, our efforts have been such that the number of tickets that have been issued by the police have exceeded the number by some 44,000 over last year at this time. We have to be responsible,” SSP McKenzie said.

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